NORTH ROYALTON – Single ladies will have the chance to yay or nay one of city hall’s eligible bachelors for a good cause.
Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw is one of 27 bachelors who will be auctioned off at the Cleveland “Have a Heart” Charity Bachelor Raffle sponsored by Harry Buffalo. The event will be hosted from 6-10 p.m. June 25 at the Barley House, 1261 West 6th Street downtown.
In this case, the highest and best bid will earn a date with Langshaw.
The event benefits Working Animals Giving Service 4 Kids (W.A.G.S. 4 Kids), an organization that empowers local children with disabilities by custom training service dogs that provide therapeutic, emotional and physical support for children with disabilities and their families. All the proceeds collected will be given to W.A.G.S.
For $40 raffle goers will be treated to an open bar, heavy appetizers, a live DJ and have their crack at exclusive silent raffle prize packages and grab bags. Some of the more notables prizes are box seats for 10 to the Gladiators, a dinner party for 10 by Celebrity Chef Tony Smoody of Bon Appetit Restaurant with wine pairings by Vintress Ryanne “Ry” Haditsch, and a huge wine basket from Your Wine Cellar. There will also be an “adult” prize wheel on site and photographers capturing guests’ red carpet entrance.
Other local personalities up for auction include Drew Golub, AKA DJ G; John Gadd, who is CEO ofhotcards.com; Scot Lowry, CEO of Fathom; Tony Madalone, CEO of Fresh Brewed Tees; and Woody Justik, who is producer of the Q104.1 Morning Talk Show – Fee’s Kompany.
Singles can network and mingle, and couples can treat it as a great night out on the town.
Langshaw said his friend Ward 2 Broadview Heights Councilman Brain Wolf told him about the event and actually nominated him for the auction. Wolf’s son Jack has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and has a service dog through W.A.G.S. Having a tangible, visible, real-life example of how this organization has changed a family’s life was the catalyst for Langshaw’s involvement.
“When my friend Ward 2 Broadview Heights Councilman Brian Wolf told me how much W.A.G.S. 4 Kids helped his son Jack in getting not just his service dog, but better yet, his best friend Tommy, I was moved and inspired to help support such a great cause. When Brian told me about the bachelor raffle, I told him to count me in,” Langshaw said.
W.A.G.S. 4 Kids has worked with several families across the area. North Royalton Resident Kyle Kobunski, 18, received his first dog, Buddy, as a young boy. Kobunski has mitochondrial disorder. Buddy has since retired, but Molly has become his second service dog.
The organization, which started from humble beginnings in Berea, has been leaving its paw print on local families for 10 years now. It all started with one dog. Since its inception, 54 dogs have been placed. Within 18 months, they plan to be placing a dog a month. Each dog takes 18-24 months to train and costs $18,000-$22,000.
Proceeds from this event, down to 100 percent of each ticket, will be used to get what’s known as the Grafton Project off the ground.
This year the organization was presented a prestigious award for the best inmate program for their training program through the North Central Correctional Complex in Marion. At all times, 12-25 inmates are training six service dogs at the award-winning program there.
The Grafton Project will have a dozen inmates training six puppies at the Grafton Correctional Institution.
The Grafton inmates are new to the experience and have never trained dogs, let alone service dogs. They will be working with a W.A.G.S. trainer once a week who will teach a specific instruction they will work with on the dogs. Inmates must also study the training manual used, “Dogs Don’t Speak English.” Once they complete the program, the inmates are certified dog trainers, so it gives them a positive way to spend their time and a skill set they can use when they return to the workforce outside prison.
Nick Walczak, wounded in the Chardon school shooting, spoke to the 36 inmates interested in the program. His service dog is Turner. Turner is a top notch dog that has even been trained to clean up after Walczak.
And, a growing number of dogs are being trained to work specifically with autistic children.
“The calming therapies that parents are taught to do for the child over and over, well, this dog is a constant companion and a calmer in times of tantrums. They are absolutely another therapist in the home,” said Sera Nelson, director of development and special events.
She said W.A.G.S. is truly life changing not just for those placed with a dog, but their entire family, and even the inmate training the dog.
“The fundraising that families do pays it forward to the next child. The time the inmates invest pays it forward to the child,” Nelson said. “And the inmates are leaving prisoners with a set of skills. They can say they are certified dog trainers. It’s all about paying it forward.” In fact the program has been life changing for Josh Allendar.
A former inmate who trained dogs while in prison, Allendar is now paying it forward and will be training inmates at the Grafton Project.
“I knew him when he was an inmate training dogs and now he’s come out an amazing man. It’s come full circle. And now he’ll be paying it forward, sharing this life changing experience with another set of inmates who have no clue what they are in for. They don’t know what it’s like to get a thank you from a child that says this dog changed my life, but they’re about to,” she smiled.
Langshaw is looking forward to the event. His only fear is that he falls short in beating radio station Q104s Producer Woody Justik from Fee’s Company.
“No matter how much I raise that night, I plan to make a generous donation of my own. It is just an honor to help such a great cause,” he said. “Help me beat Producer Woody, and if you’re a single lady, you may even win a date with yours truly.”
Nelson said everyone is invited to the raffle and can know that they are not only in store for a great deal of fun, but they can rest assured knowing that just by being there, they are making a date to change a life.
“There is no charge to the organization. Every ticket sold is donated to us. So we can truly say it is 100 percent of the proceeds,” she said. “Come up June 25. It’s four hours of an open bar, great food, the best collection of prizes I’ve seen at any event. And, you can know that you really are helping to change a life.”Tickets are still available at clevelandhaveaheart.org/#purchase-your-ticket. Those who can’t attend but wish to donate can also contribute on-line at this link.